An investigation into historic sex abuse allegations against Cliff Richard has been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Police raided the Living Doll singer's home in Berkshire, England in 2014 as part of an investigation into allegations of sex abuse made against the 75-year-old by four men, relating to alleged incidents between 1958 and 1983.
South Yorkshire police bosses passed case files to officials at Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in May (16), and they have decided to take no further action due to lack of evidence.
“The CPS has carefully reviewed evidence relating to claims of non-recent sexual offences dating between 1958 and 1983 made by four men,"
Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside said on Thursday (16Jun16). “We have decided that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute...
“This decision has been made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on cases of sexual offences... The complainants have been informed and provided with a full explanation in writing."
The 22-month police investigation into the veteran singer was mired in controversy from its inception, after South Yorkshire police engaged in a deal with the BBC in which the broadcaster filmed a search in the summer of 2014 of Richard’s Berkshire home and broadcast it live.
Sir Cliff, who was never arrested or charged, has issued a statement, which reads, “I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point! Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close."
He criticised the "high-profile fumbling of my case" and the police for naming him although he hadn't been charged. He writes, “I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like ‘live bait’".
Cliff also complains his reputation will forever be tarnished because the CPS didn't declare him innocent "which of course I am". He concludes by addressing his supporters, writing, “To my fans and members of the public, to the press and media, all of whom continued to show me such encouraging and wonderful support, I would like to say 'thank you' it would have been so much harder without you.”
A representative for South Yorkshire Police has apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Cliff by their handling of the case.